The City of Bloomington Downtown Task Force, approved Monday evening by aldermen, will look at economic development, infrastructure, and more, according to the task force chair. Amelia Buragas, who also serves as Ward 1 Alderman, said during Sound Ideas that it's important to keep in mind what the task force will not do.
"What it is not going to do is redo efforts that have already been done," said Buragas. "So we have master plans in place. We have recommendations for what downtown needs to be truly successful and fully revitalized and an asset not only to our community but to our region."
Buragas said it's really more about priorities and strategy. The task force will look at those master plan recommendations and determine what can be accomplished now, in the mid-term and long term. As chair, she said she'll also work to bring in groups not represented on the task force."
"The Historic Preservation Commission. Obviously that is a huge and core part of our downtown is maintaining our historic properties and enhancing them further. That would be one group we intend to and will reach out to," said Buragas.
In addition to Buragas, two other council members are on the task force: Ward 1 Alderman Jamie Mathy and Ward 9 Alderman Kim Bray. Other task force members include McLean County Board Member Carlo Robustelli whose district encompasses downtown; Justin Boyd who serves on the city's planning commission; Downtown Bloomington Association Executive Director Trisha Stiller, and 3 downtown property owners.
Mathy, who is also a downtown business owner expressed concern about infrastructure revitalization, citing the extensive work at the beginning of the Uptown Normal redevelopment which he said caused some business to close.
"So I want to make sure that we're very thoughtful and considerate and have a plan to communicate with building owners and business owners and work with them on how they can stay open during this period of time," said Mathy.
Mayor Tari Renner, who joined Buragas on Sound Ideas said he doubted the nature of the construction in Downtown would be as extensive or cause the same kind of long term disruption as in Uptown Normal.
A first report is due August. 31 with a final report expected before the end of the year. Buragas said that she'd prefer all options in the various plans the task force would examine to be on the table as to not cut off discussion.
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